Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blurting (Better than Burping) Out Blurbs in the Burbs

Couldn’t resist that title. Gets your attention doesn’t it. LOL!

Blurbs are a funny thing. The book I’m reading right now had a pretty good blurb, but so far I’ve had to push myself to keep reading after the first chapter. The author has several books with the same publisher. So we know the editor likes them, but there’s no pizzazz. The sexual tension gets lost in the plot. They’re running around trying to figure out who killed a woman but so far they have five candidates. Considering this book is a small one, that’s way too many. It actually drags down the story.

Out of curiosity, I sat down and read the blurbs on a few of my favorite books and realized, if I hadn’t liked the author so much, I probably wouldn’t have bought the book.

Blurbs can be misleading and they're so hard to do for some authors. Or is that marketing departments?

Around a year ago, I bought a book from a well-known author I had read a time or two. Nothing in the blurb or the cover indicated it was a sci-fi. I couldn't enjoy it because, first, I don't normally care to read sci-fi, and second, I felt betrayed. It took me a while before I would try another book from that author.

I remember talking to one author whose romantic suspense had a hero who was unknown and mostly unseen by the heroine for three-quarters of the book. The heroine fell in love with his voice and touch despite how afraid she was of him. The blub actually gave away his identity. The author was furious. Certainly not her fault. Thankfully the reprint corrected that. I have the reprint and love it.

Blubs are like walking a tightrope. You don't want to give out too much information but giving out too little and misleading a reader can alienate her too.


Christine said...

Blurbs are hooks and one trick for me as a reader is to do what I always do: open the book and read the first few paragraphs before I buy it. That way I will see if the writing appeals to me.

Great post! And Happy Thanksgiving :-)

romancemama said...

I am trying to write a blurb for my first book, and it is the hardest thing I've ever written! Trying to get the feel of the story in so few words, in a way that will make the reader want more -- It's easier to hammer out an 85,000 word novel than a half-page blurb!

Jeanie said...

I always read the blurbs, even with authors I know and love. A good blurb will give the reader some idea of the author's voice and tell enough of the story to draw my interest. I recently had a more personal experience with blurbs, because I wrote the blurb for my first book. It was fun and, hopefully, displays the right amount of snark. Time will tell on that one, I guess!

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Christine.

Carla Swafford said...

I agree, romancemama. Everytime I think I got mine sounding right, I come back to it a few days later and think, "Crap! It's crap!" ((sigh))

Carla Swafford said...

I bet it will be just right, Jeanie! I can't wait to read it.

Louisa Cornell said...

Blurbs are definitely tough! You want to hook the reader, but don't want to reveal too much. You don't want it to be like some movie trailers where all of the good stuff is in the trailer and the movie falls flat!

I was fortunate enough to have the help of someone really fabulous at blurb writing to help me with the ones on my website.

I had to write blurbs for the sequels to The Raven's Heart for my agent to have ready in case an editor wanted it and two more books. No takers yet, but I think I did okay on the blurbs. TOOK ME FOREVER!

Like you, Carla, I HATE it when the blurb on the back of the book betrays me into reading something I end up yawning through!

Cari Hislop said...

Blurbs on a paperbacks, in my opinion, are almost pointless. Like Christine, if I like the first page or two I'll buy it/read on. This past month I found three old Georgette Heyers at the charity shop and bought them for a laugh without looking at them. The one with a really boring blurb turned out to be the best one with a really cute story with brilliant characters and I stayed up all night reading it. If I'd judged the story by the blurb I'd have given it away without giving it a chance.